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When, then, we look up to the Author and Finisher of our faith, we shall learn patience and submission to our heavenly Master. And when we consider those glorious spirits, who minister in his presence, and fall down before him with never-ceasing hallelujahs, it will warm our devotions with a heavenly flame, it will teach us to purify our hearts and affections, and to cleave to the Lord with full purpose of heart, in all events; that after having done the will of God on earth, we may join that angelic chorus in heaven, which ceaseth not, day or night, to worship him that liveth for ever and ever, saying, “ Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive
glory, and honour, and power : for thou hast “ created all things, and for thy pleasure they
are, and were cieated.”
MATT. vi. 11.
Give'us this day our daily bread.
HAVING, in the former part of this di
vine prayer, expressed our wishes for promoting the honour of God, the establishment of his kingdom, and the performance of his will, on earth; we now proceed to ask of him a supply for our own necessities, both of body and soul,
The former of these is .contained in the petition now read to you, “Give us this day,” or, as St. Luke expresses it,
“Give us, day by day, our daily bread :"--a petition seemingly very plain and obvious, and which yet has been the subject of much controversy among the learned.
I shall, therefore, first endeavour briefly to explain the precise meaning of the words; and, secondly, to shew, what important lessons of duty we are taught by offering up this petition to God.
First, then, By bread we are here to understand whatever is necessary for the preservation and comfort of our being. It is emphatically called in scripture, " the staff of life;" and the sacred writers express all the horrors of want and dereliction, by breaking the staff of bread. When, therefore, we ask bread of God, we ask of him whatever is necessary for our temporal happiness, agreeably to the station and rank we hold in life.
Indeed some of the ancient Christians extended the sense of this petition still farther, as
containing a request for the supply of our spi| ritual wants, especially in the participation of
the sacramental elements, which they consi, dered as the bread of life, and which, from their receiving it daily, they called “ their daily € bread.”
But we shall easily see, that there is no just foundation for this refined and mystical explanation, if we consider that it was impossible for
our Saviout to teach his disciples to pray for that sacramental.bread of life, of which they had then never heard, and of which no mention ever appears to have been made, till the institution of the Sacrament, in the night preceding his suffering
Secondly, We are here taught to pray for our daily bread.
The original word éticolor, which we trans
daily,” has been taken in a variety of
1st. The African fathers, who understood this petition as relating to spiritual food, endeavoured to countenance their opinion by translating it “ super-substantial,” or “extraordinary.” But as their opinion had no foundation in truth, so it is equally certain, that this interpretation of the word is altogether contrary to the usage and analogy of the Greek language.
2dly, Others, having a view to the composition of the original Greek word, conclude it to mean the bread necessary for our subsistence, or, in the language of Agur, " the food that is “ convenient for us." And it must be owned, that this translation is agreeable enough to the
sense of the petition, but not so to the idiom of the Greek language, which, according to this interpretation, would necessarily require us to read επέσιον, instead of έπιέσιον*.
3dly, Others, with more propriety, translate it
the bread of to-morrow;" that is, either of the next succeeding day only, or, as St. Jerome thinks, of the whole remainder of our lives. I should, however, chuse to adhere to the former of these two senses, and to understand the petition simply as a request to God, that he would give us, this day, bread sufficient for to-morrow; in order that we may be free from that pegojeva, or anxious thought, for the morrow, which our Saviour forbade, as inconsistent with the faith and duty of a Christian.
But, leaving these minutiæ of critical observation, let us proceed to what is much more importantthat is, the consideration of those useful lessons, which this petition ought to suggest to every man who repeats it.
And 1st. It ought to teach us a grateful acknowledgment of the kindness and bounty of divine providence. The God that made the world
# Vid. Schmidii not, in Matt. vi. II.